McLEAN, VA., Jan. 8, 2008 – International Launch Services (ILS) brought in $1.5 billion in new launch orders in 2007, its first year as an independent company marketing the Proton Breeze M vehicle.
This total represents contracts for 17 launches on Proton, Russia’s premier heavy-lift launcher, through 2013. ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton vehicle worldwide to commercial satellite operators. Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry, manufactures the Proton and is in a partnership with ILS.
"This was a good start in 2007," said ILS President Frank McKenna. "We set a focus on performance in all aspects. We work hard to earn the confidence of not only existing customers, but also of new entrants who are entrusting the launch of their businesses to us".
"We also introduced our Enhanced Proton, with excellent results," McKenna said. "With a lift capability of greater than 6 metric tons, the Enhanced Proton is robust enough for the larger, more complex satellites our customers are building for such new services as HDTV and mobile entertainment." The Proton launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The new orders include the following, resulting in a total ILS backlog of 22 firm missions:
ILS launched three satellites successfully in 2007 – Anik F3 for Telesat on April 9; DIRECTV 10 on July 7; and SIRIUS-4 for SES SIRIUS on Nov. 18. ILS also suffered a loss with the failure of the JCSAT-11 Sept. 6. Khrunichev traced the problem to a damaged wiring harness. Proton returned to flight successfully in October with a federal mission, then again in November for ILS, and two more times in December for the Russian government – four Proton launches in two months!
"Proton launches will continue at tempo of about one a month for 2008 and into 2009," McKenna said. "To facilitate that, a new satellite processing area is being built this year to enable overlapping ILS campaigns. Additionally, ILS is the only commercial launch operator with access to two launch pads."
ILS By the Numbers:
ILS is a joint venture of Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow and RSC Energia of Moscow.
Khrunichev Space Center, which was created from the merger of the Khrunichev Machine-building Plant and the Salyut Design Bureau 14 years ago, has become a pillar of Russia’s space industry. Khrunichev has its headquarters in Moscow, and includes among its branches a number of key manufacturers of launch vehicle and spacecraft components in Moscow and in other cities of the Russian Federation.
ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.